Whether you're looking to optimize an existing channel or begin your own YouTube channel, there's a question that comes to mind before you start – what is the ideal video format for YouTube? And since technology has advanced, there have been many video formats in the market that picking the best for your platform can be a bit overwhelming.

Choosing the right YouTube video format will make sure that your videos are as high quality as possible, which means more people will watch until the end, and more viewers will like, comment, and share your videos. To help you understand more about video formats, here is a guide explaining the file formats that YouTube supports as well as the best video format to upload to YouTube.

What File Formats Does YouTube Support?


This is a QuickTime file format created by Apple in 1998. This format is compatible with Macintosh platforms.


The MPEG4 format was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group back in 1998. The format is mostly used to include visual (VA) and audio data.


This is technically part of the MPEG4 family. Identified as MPEG4 part 14, the MP4 container format is the most regularly used format for portable media players.


The AVI (Audio-Video Interleaved) file was introduced by Microsoft in 1992. The format is used to store video and audio for synchronous playback digitally.


The Windows Media Video (WMV) format is established on the Microsoft Advanced Systems (ASF) container, compressed as well as encoded with Microsoft's WMV proprietary codecs.


The Flash Video (FLV) format was initially created by Macromedia, a company that Adobe afterward purchased. The FLV is a container file format used by Adobe to deliver synchronized video and audio content.


The MPEG-PS file format was originally released in 1993 and is majorly used for multiplexing digital video and audio. It's primarily used for HD DVDs and DVDs.


The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) files were developed to allow 3G cell phones to record, play, send and view multimedia files on the internet.


This is a high-quality video compression format developed by Apple. The format can edit full-frame, 4:2:2, 10-bit, and 4:4:4:4 high definition, 2K, 4K, 5K, as well as larger video sources.


The creation of this file format was sponsored by Google and initially released in 2010. The file that was envisioned to offer a royalty-free alternative for HTML5 is made up of video streams that have become compressed with a VP8 or VP9 codec as well as audio streams that are compressed with an Opus or Vorbis codec.


This file format is an irreversible UHDTV compression codec created for use with screen resolutions that are above 1080p.

HEVC (h265)

This is a video compression created as part of the MPEG-H project. The format supports resolutions up to 8192×4320, as well as 8K UHD.


Purchased by GoPro in 2011, this format is a cross-platform intermediate codec created for editing high-resolution footage with the lowest loss in quality even after multiple encodes.

What Is the Best Video Format to Upload to YouTube?

MP4 is the ideal video format for YouTube with a combination of the H.264 video codec, a standard aspect ratio of 16.9, 15-20Mbps, and AAC-LC audio codec. The format gives you a high-quality video at smaller file size.


Developing and uploading the ideal video formats for YouTube does not have to be so complicated and nerve-racking if you know the above basics. It might take a little extra work with the right file format, but it's worth the effort, especially when you start seeing your channel grow.

Once you've gotten the best format, editing your videos is also very crucial. This is because it gives your videos a professional feel and branded look. Additionally, the videos will be more recognizable in searches and will provide viewers with a cohesive experience, which means more likes, comments, and shares.

Use Pinnacle Studio for All Your Video Editing Needs

At Pinnacle Studio, we are fully loaded with everything from basic tools to advanced creative features to help you edit your videos in the best possible way.  Our primary focus is to get you the power, control, and precision you crave for your videos.